THEN & NOW: BARGE INSTRUCTORS
‘Then & New: Barge Instructors’ questions where ones artistic process persists and diverges over time. This is a study of process, style, subject and aesthetics. Participating artists have contributed two works that display their evolution as an artist, one from their early career and one from present day. Below are artist’s reflections.
My work most often revolves around the natural world. “Beetle” is an abstract drawing inspired by my observation of a beetle, emphasizing its segmented parts and magical/lyrical legs and antennae. It’s about movement, too, a fleeting image before it disappears.
“Dissonance” is the latest artwork in my extended Troubled Waters series, about the stress to marine life as chemical and industrial elements seep into our waters. Both works use shapes and forms combined with extended lines. In the drawing the shapes and lines are created with a brush. In the dimensional bas-relief, the shapes are pasted paperboard and the lines are actual objects, plastic mesh and plastic twine.
I work the way I have always worked. My style, process, use of color and form have stayed consistent over the years. I pull out patterns, lines, and colors that exist within the natural landscape. My work reflects a moment in time and I seek to represent the variety of light, daylight to moonlight.
Linda Capello’s career started as a fashion illustrator. The style of the time promoted beauty, elegance, and clean line drawings. As fashion illustration lost relevance she turned towards visual arts. The figure continues to be pertinent to her practice but her stroke has loosened. No longer needing to represent the details of a garment she can focus on the figure.
Kimberly Newman Norris
When I first began to work with chalk pastel, it was important to me to be able to depict reality. I strove to capture a specific location at a certain time of day. I found it rewarding that people would be able to recognize that setting. As I progressed with the medium and my feeling toward it, my approach changed over time. Now I work to capture a feeling or mood based on the experience I have with my surroundings.
My artwork has evolved over the years with a continuing aspect of observations stemming from the struggle between nature and structures, the replacing of nature with other, urban or otherwise. Finding abstraction in the representational, re-framing images utilizing color expression through painting, combining paints (Oil, Acrylic or Watercolor) with photography on traditional canvas, paper and contemporary inkjet media are part of recent projects. In the creative process I continue to explore merging traditional and non-traditional painting materials, collage, and digital technologies converged with painting.
The painting “Three Mile Harbor” from 1982 was the one of the first paintings that I painted from memory. I was on my way home from the beach and stopped to look at the harbor. It was a windy, bright and exiting day on the water and I just ran into the studio and painted over a painting I had been working on of the interior of my apartment. I painted really fast just wanting to get down the emotion and the excitement. I planned to keep working on the painting but never did. I didn’t want to loose the feeling of freedom that was there. Later in the nineties I started paintings by pouring watercolor onto the center of the paper. By the later nineties I started painting water. Watercolors of water. I was around a lot of surfers and swimming in the ocean all the time. I would take a lot of time plan, doing color tests and paying close attention to how much water was on the brush and on the paper and then clear my mind and just go. “Nalu” from 1999 is a watercolor on canvas with matte medium over it.
I primarily deal with the figure as a conduit for conveying emotions, compassion and empathy. As such, aspects of mannerism seem to unavoidably creep in. If there’s a unifying look or “style” it’s likely related to the mannerist constructs and that probably hasn’t changed much over the years. My palette varies according to the image but in very early works I used to restrict images to three colors, (black white and flesh). I still use the three color approach to work out studies but today, for finished paintings, my palette tends to run a bit hotter than one based on a natural, observational representation of reality.
The waterways and wetlands of the South Fork have been a main focus of my paintings. Both the dramatic and subtle effects created by the ever varied blending of land, sea and sky, have inspired my work. Sometimes moody and introspective and at other times vibrant and expressive ~ this landscape is alive. In my most recent paintings I have attempted to capture nuances of mood and atmosphere by depicting the effects of mist, haze and fog on the landscape. While much of my earlier work depicted specific places and moments, my newer work derives from drawings based on my cumulative observations of and interactions with the land.
Dolls are a recurrent theme in my work. As a child, I was not especially enamored of baby dolls. What I liked best were paper dolls. It was World War II so there were books of military women in uniforms and nurses in their regalia. (No doctors, mind you). I would cut out their clothing and trace the shapes and then draw and color in my own creations. As always, there were movie star dolls holding out all manner of possibility for design. I was playing at being grown-up, play-acting a future. When as an adult I took to painting dolls it was a time reversal; now I was playing with the past, playing with my inner life, telling stories to myself about a small girl. Play is the work of a child. The construction of play is an artist’s work.
LILA HEALY / NO SNIVELING
For anyone who ever met Lila Healy (1937-2014), the title of this on-line exhibition is very right and proper. And for those who never met her, rest assured NO SNIVELING is just the tip of an iceberg in describing her.
Lila first came to The Art Barge in 1989. Summering in East Hampton and wanting to make a move from NYC, she found The Barge to be a place where she could develop her interest in painting. The dramatic views of the sea, sky and salt air in all directions, along with the comradeship of light- and like-minded artists, provided a safe-haven for her creative expressions as well as her social needs.
Becoming a Trustee in 1991, Lila continued her bravura support financially, vocally and creatively through her passing in 2014. Her devotion to The Barge and friendship with Mabel D’Amico was as strong and balanced as was her love for her husband and family of four children. She always expressed positive advice, direct comments and hilarious stories from her many adventures.
She painted continuously every day all summer for 25 years and could be said to be one of the last “big game” painters at The Barge, meaning her obsession and passion for pushing the paint brush resulted in hundreds of paintings. Not satisfied with one singular image, she processed her creativity, constantly working a similar theme. She was challenged by composition, shape and visual texture. From the ocean and the sea here on the East End, of still life set-ups, to the stark contrasts of her home in the American southwest, she challenged herself repeatedly. And she excelled!
In the Autumn of 2014, she left us behind like a meteor in the night sky. She was benevolent, bodacious and bold. We are lucky to have a body of work to share and to remember her by.